Award set up by the Foundation

The “Lebendige Stadt” Foundation presents a Foundation Award each year in recognition of innovative civic projects such as particularly outstanding cultural and civic marketing events, successful city displays comprising elements such as light, sound and water (as temporary or permanent installations), and projects in the field of building conservation and tourism, especially if these are of cultural or artistic value.

Foundation Award 2016

integrative sports city

German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) and "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation recognise the efforts of towns and cities to integrate refugees:

Nürtingen is Germany's integrative sports city

  • Special mentions for Bensheim, Falkensee, Hamburg, Maxdorf, Nuremberg and Stuttgart
  • 286 entries
  • Prize money of 15,000 euros

The "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation and the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB) have recognised the town of Nürtingen in the state of Baden-Würrtemberg in southern Germany as an "integrative sports city". The town received the award for its comprehensive range of sports and integration-focused activities for refugees. The award comes with a cash prize of 15,000 euros. There were also special mentions for Bensheim, Falkensee, Hamburg, Maxdorf, Nuremberg and Stuttgart. 286 entries were received for the competition from Germany and abroad.

The "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation and the DOSB looked for towns and cities that have launched sports activities for refugees in order to promote integration as well as exchange and interaction between people from different cultural backgrounds and between old and new members of the local population.


"The entries demonstrate just how creative and committed civic administrations, associations and volunteers are in organising sports activities for refugees – and, in doing so, also playing a valuable role in the integration process. These activities also promote interaction with the local people; this level of commitment deserves recognition, and the projects are worthy of imitation. This once again underlines the key social function played by sport", said Alexander Otto, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the "Lebendige Stadt" Foundation.


The award ceremony was held on Wednesday evening (Sep 14, 2016) before around 300 invited guests at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Düsseldorf. The congratulatory speakers included Dr. Lutz Aengevelt (Managing Partner of the Aengevelt Immobilien realtors, Dr. Burkhard Hintzsche (City Director, Düsseldorf), Lutz Lienenkämper (Parliamentary Chairman of the CDU Group in the North Rhine-Westphalia State Parliament), Ulrike Nasse-Meyfarth (Olympic Gold Medal winner), Johannes Pfeiffer (Managing Director of Germany's Federal Employment Agency), Nurhan Soykan(General Secretary, Central Council of Muslims in Germany) and Dr. Michael Vesper, Executive Director of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB).


Winner of the Foundation Award 2016: Nürtingen (Baden-Württemberg)

(prize money: 15,000 euros)

The Neckarhausen Gymnastics Association has developed a broadly based network project. Working together with many other actors, they have succeeded in integrating refugees in and via the association, encouraging them to become involved and play their part, thereby focusing on a positive aspect to this issue in the town district. It all began with a soccer game with refugees to mark the association's annual sports festival – which has since become a forum for encounters between refugees and the local population, with the association partnering with refugee initiatives in the neighbouring towns and villages.

Moreover, the Neckarhausen Gymnastics Association has created a position for a "voluntary social year", the first association in Baden-Württemberg to do so. This vacancy was filled by Syrian refugee Firas Abu Khraish. Using the skills learned in the association and various seminars, he acts as the interface to childcare centres and schools. Abu Khraish meanwhile organises various sporting activities in childcare facilities and is in charge of soccer project groups at multiple secondary schools. As part of his social work activities, he also supports child refugees attending preparatory German language courses. Khraish plays an important supporting role in the overall process of integration. In 2016, the position will be filled by a Somalian refugee. Not just that: a new position will be created for "Sport and Schools".


Special mention: Bensheim (Hessen)

The DJK SSG Bensheim Catholic sports club has launched a wide-ranging integration programme for refugees called "Grenzenlos Fit" (Fit without Borders). The project began with initial contact between women from migrant and non-migrant backgrounds in an international women's club organised by the municipal office for women's affairs. This contact resulted in the first exercise course.

This process of exchange has resulted in many creative ideas, paving the way for a far wider range of services and courses – which now also include cycling and swimming lessons, "Zumba Meets Bellydancing" sessions and a weekly language workshop. The "Grenzenlos fit im Kochen“ cook book was produced by the language workshop. The club attaches importance to ensuring a good mix of nationalities, so that German is the main language and the participants learn German more quickly.

The club has an "integration officer", who cooperates closely with the town's integration officials and assistants to make migrants and refugees aware of its activities. In 2012, the German Olympic Sports Federation named DJK SSG Bensheim a "focal integration club".


Special mention: Falkensee (Brandenburg)

The "Aktiv Sport" community“, a joint project of all the sports cubs in Falkensee, and the "Welcome to Falkensee" initiative set up by committed local people with the aim of promoting integration are key players in the field of support for refugees.

Both organisations provide advice and assistance to refugees and operate a total of sixteen project groups offering courses in such things as German, cycling, music and sport, and numerous refugees have also become members of the local sports teams. The two partners will in future also be staging their own language lessons with the aim of helping to overcome any remaining language barriers. In addition, they organise activities like weight training, running, table tennis and badminton in the local refugee reception centres. Young people from Falkensee play soccer with the refugees, and a group of would-be oarsmen are trained on the River Havel by an experienced rowing coach. There is also a mother-and-child exercise group, and the activities specifically for women are being expanded.

The project is supported by the town of Falkensee, the local adult education centre, language schools and churches. It is chiefly through this broad network that Falkensee has succeeded in addressing uncertainty and preconceptions in connection with refugees.


Special mention: Hamburg

The "Welt der Bewegung" (World of Motion) sports park has been created on the former site of the International Horticultural Exhibition in the Wilhelmsburg district of Hamburg. It houses sports and leisure facilities such as a basketball hall, a swimming pool, a climbing hall and many free-to-use areas such as a skating arena, a boule court, a running path and a canoe trail.

The "ParkSport mit Flüchtlingen" (Park Sport with Refugees) project was launched for the nearby refugee reception centre. Conflicts between refugees are often due to their having to sit around with nothing to do, particularly in large reception centres. This project helps to avoid such conflicts. Specially trained course leaders stage regular soccer, basketball and exercise activities in the park, thereby creating a dependable leisure pursuits and points of contact outside the hostel. And the refugees have the opportunity to learn rules, team spirit and the German language in a playful setting. In addition, this encourages the refugees to take on low-level tasks and therefore to assume responsibility. School students have been trained as "Park Sport Pilots" in a special sports course as a means of extending and consolidating the range of activities on offer. The courses are equally popular with refugees and local people.


Special mention: Maxdorf (Rhineland-Palatinate)

Together with the TSG Maxdorf gymnastics and sports club, the "Netzwerkhilfe" (Network Assistance) organisation set up by committed local people, the civic administration and the town's churches have launched  the "Integration Plus" programme for Somalian refugees. After the first asylum-seekers arrived in Maxdorf, it became clear that it was particularly the young refugees from Somalia who needed wide-ranging support.

The "Integration Plus" sports programme helps the participants to learn values and rules that are key to daily life as well as for their future working environment. The recurring routines and processes also give the daily lives of the refugees a clearly structured schedule. Membership in the club paves the way for exchange and interaction with the local people and helps the refugees to learn German. In addition to their sporting activities, the young Somalians carry out volunteer tasks and also perform paid unskilled work activities.


Special mention: Nuremberg

At the end of 2015, the city of Nuremberg set up a central coordination office to serve as the connecting link between the local administration on the one hand and clubs, organisations and volunteers active in the field of sport for refugees on the other. The office cooperates closely with a volunteer coordinator who is in turn supported by 16 volunteer sports coaches. The coordinator manages supply and demand, provides assistance in the pre-implementation phase of projects and organises the deployment of the sports coaches. The latter promote activities at local level, build contacts between refugee initiatives, sports clubs and asylum support institutions, supervise the training sessions and act as points of contact for interested parties.

The regular sporting activities are extremely varied and are very popular with the refugees. Activities range from individual sporting pursuits and team sports – including swimming courses – through to mother-and-child courses. This programme helps the refugees to become integrated in the local clubs and puts them in contact with local people.


Special mention: Stuttgart

The University of Cooperative Education in Stuttgart has developed an intelligent strategy in order to promote the integration of young, unaccompanied refugees. Cricket is the national sport in countries like India, Pakistan and South Africa, and is just as popular there as soccer is in Germany. The university sports department and the Centre for Intercultural Competence and Languages have set up a sports programme in which four unaccompanied refugees show up to 20 university students how to play cricket. During this process, the refugees learn German in a playful manner and make new contacts, while the people living here have the opportunity to try out a new sport. The project is also supported by the Stuttgart Youth Welfare Office, who work together with the university to stage workshops on strategies to involve and integrate refugees. The programme is open to all young refugees.

All the participants come together on equal terms. The students profit from the skills and knowledge of the refugees, while the young refugees take on responsibility and receive recognition and gratitude for their abilities and their role as mediators.


Competition jury

Dipl.-Ing. BDA Kaspar Kraemer, Kaspar Kraemer Architects, BDA

Elsbeth Beha, President of the DjK Sportverband catholic sports association

Iris Escherle, Head of Section, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

Burkhard Hintzsche, City Director, Düsseldorf

Dr. Heike Kaster-Meurer, Lord Mayor of Bad Kreuznach

Franziska Kegler, Bundesliga Foundation

Dr. Agnes Klein, Director of Education, Youth and Sports, City of CologneFrank Lösing, Head of Division, DSK GmbH & Co. KG

Dagmar Mühlenfeld, former Lord Mayor of Mülheim an der Ruhr

Burkhard Petzold, Managing Director, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper

Nurhan Soykan, General Secretary, Central Council of Muslims in Germany

Franz Springer, Director of Education, Culture, Sport and Equality, German Association of Cities and Towns

Antonino Vultaggio, Architect, HPP Hentrich-Petschnigg & Partner

Dr. Michael Vesper, Executive Director of the German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB)

Kirsten Witte-Abe, Deputy Head of Equal Opportunities and Diversity, German Olympic Sports Federation (DOSB)